Developer: Marc Hehmeyer
Price: free Download on the App Store
Galaxy on Fire 3D, from FISHLABS, is this developer's best effort yet at pushing the envelope of the standard outer space shooter-on-rails genre for the iPhone and iPod touch.
FISHLABS is the creator behind Toy Tanks 3D, Burning Tires, Powerboat Challenge — all of which are cast in the shooter-on-rails mold. The three have been well regarded but none really has been a smash success, which probably explains why those games happen to be on sale in the App Store at the moment. With Galaxy on Fire, FISHLABS, is putting its A-game into play.
Galaxy on Fire 3D, like so many space games, comes with a backstory. In this case, you're Keith T. Maxwell, a space cowboy who'll work for anyone for the right price, whether it's Bernie Madoff-types or secret alliances bent on universal conquest and domination.
What we're talking about here is the usual space smash-and-blast game, with controls to select and fire weapons, boost into hypedrive, monitor shield and hull damage and locate targets. You navigate using a virtual pad if you use the touch controls, or, if you prefer, motion control, which you can calibrate and go through life on a tilt and a whirl. Of the two, using the accelerometer is the way to go.
With the completion of each assignment, you use your ill-gotten gains to buy better ships and more sophisticated weapons and equipment. With Galaxy on Fire 3D you have 10 unique spaceships in all, and each can be upgraded with weapons, shields and other stuff your average Jedi is familiar with.
You decide whether you want to play Galaxy on Fire 3D in campaign mode, and work your way up the food chain, or in fly-until-you-die survival mode.
What makes Galaxy on Fire 3D unique is its stunning graphics. According to FISHLABS, there are 20 hours worth of play in Galaxy on Fire, but I'll have to take their word for it. I think this game is hard and I'm not some pansy junk jockey, accustomed to trawling space barges from one dinky planet to another.
The soundtrack, on the other hand, is mind-numbingly tedious, but hey, you can always turn it off.